Is Living On Campus Worth It?
April 11, 2017
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In the April 4 issue of The Charger Bulletin, President Steven H. Kaplan wrote a column outlining his belief in the benefit of living on campus, versus living off.
Students responded to Kaplan’s letter online and via social media, disputing the value of living in university housing, when they could find much cheaper housing off campus.
Max Duckworth, a junior criminal justice and forensic psychology major, said that living off campus is usually much cheaper than living in a residence hall.
“Why would I spend $17,000+ to live on campus when I can live right next to campus for an entire year for $7,000?” he said in his comment.
“In Celentano,” he told The Charger Bulletin later, “the upper class living building, they make you pay extra to live there to enjoy things such as recycling rooms and trash rooms, yet these rooms were locked by maintenance after the first week because it would be easier to let the residents take it out themselves than have maintenance do their jobs.”
Duckworth also said that washers and dryers in Celentano have been broken all year.
In his column, Kaplan said the events organized by the Center for Student Engagement, and Orientation and the Office of Residential Life as benefits of being on campus. Jenna Racz, a senior at the university, commented on the Charger Bulletin website that though she has commuted her entire college career, she has been more involved than most other students.
“I am in five organizations on campus, and hold a leadership position in three of them,” Racz said. “I have an above average GPA, and still use the library, CLR, professor office hours and other benefits the school offers. You don’t need to live on campus to feel like you live on campus.”
Racz also said that it’s cheaper to commute, and that she doesn’t have to deal with the contentious roommate selection process.
“I don’t risk losing my roommate from the rooming selections,” she said. “I watched my friends face the choice of either being separated in their living situation, or not get housing. They found cheaper, more accommodating option in renting off campus.”
In his column, Kaplan argued that, “Research shows that those who live in the residence halls earn better grades and are more likely to pursue an advanced degree. Further, they are more likely to have a successful and satisfying college career.” This information also appears on the Office of Residential Life website.
A study sponsored by National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), an organization that hosts a satisfaction survey for University of New Haven students each year, and performed by the Center for Postsecondary Research at Indiana University Bloomington, said that contradictory to previous accounts, living on campus had no substantial benefits to a student’s success, compared to those in other living situations.
“Our findings disconfirm research that contends students living on campus have an advantage over their peers in other living situations,” the report said.
The report concluded that similar benefits are offered by typical off-campus housing.
“Apartment complexes and townhomes built close to campus can provide many of the same benefits of on-campus housing without the supervision of official college personnel, increasing desirable privacy for students,” the report said.
Kate D’Alessandro, a senior psychology major, wrote an Op-Ed column online responding to Kaplan’s letter, which has since been viewed over 6,000 times, expressing her disagreement with the statements he made about living on campus.
“I do not think that it is fair or right for you to dismiss others’ experiences as less than simply because they are not what you have chosen for yourself or for your children,” she said. Not everyone can afford to shell out that kind of money to live on campus every year. It’s expensive.”
A lot of students do still enjoy the experience of living on campus, and the connections they can make being on main campus.
“I like getting to be close to the things that I like to do on campus, it’s easier to get around, and I like being around the people in my building,” said Christina Genovese, freshman living in Bixler Hall.
The Office of Residential Life counts 77 open spots for housing, and the final room selection day is April 11.
“You don’t lose out on the college experience so long as you want it,” Racz said. “If you don’t want it, you’re not going to be forced into it whether you live on campus or not.”